PP1GJ-Global Justice

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Shalini Sinha

Email: shalini.sinha@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Global traditions of thought from the Buddha and Confucius to Simone Weil, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Martin Luther King Jr., and African and Native American thinkers have advocated ideas of justice that extend far beyond contemporary conceptions. This course is about looking at the idea of justice in ways that transform how we approach injustice and freedom in the contemporary world.

Some of the claims we will examine include: Justice is freedom from suffering!  Revolutionary violence is cathartic, it is a necessary means of emancipation! Political freedom begins with mental training! We belong to nature; nature has rights! Gender and sexual freedom require the dissolution of bodily identity!  Truth lies in pleasure! Epistemic justice is based in love! Only Confucian harmony can integrate a plural society! 


The course encourages students to question their most fundamental beliefs and ideas in conversation with global traditions of philosophical thinking. It encourages students to think innovatively by engaging with cross-cultural philosophical and feminist resources and applying these to contemporary problems. Students are introduced to a variety of ways of ‘doing’ philosophy from global and feminist traditions that develop skills in oral and written argument and enable philosophical engagement with problems in a multicultural society with a variety of group interests and issues. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will gain awareness of the core concepts and issues in justice from a global perspective and ways of approaching these through cross-cultural philosophical dialogue. They will learn skills of argument and presentation, and understand what counts as ‘Philosophy’, and the diverse methodologies that underpin it in a cross-cultural approach. Students will come to acquire skills of research and enquiry by designing their own presentations, undertake research to produce coursew ork essays, and learn how to critically appraise what they discover. Students will also develop personal effectiveness and self-awareness: they will learn how to communicate effectively with a range of audiences (one-to-one, seminars and lectures) using a range of means (speaking, summary-writing, essay-writing, presenting, designing slides). They will learn to reflect on their progress, their strengths and weaknesses, and their developing sense of the goals they wish to achieve.

Additional outcomes:

This module gives students an opportunity to enhance their multicultural awareness and intercultural competencies by considering global perspectives in the study of Philosophy: from what it means to be human to diverse conceptions of community and nature in different cultures and philosophies. Students will learn to approach social and civic responsibility through an appreciation of the values of inclusiveness and diversity. They will learn about different perspectives on social and environmental justice, gender and sexuality, colonialism and nationalism, and appreciate how social identities and cultural differences can impact on society. Students will learn how concepts from very different cultures and contexts can be relevant in approaching contemporary problems by developing the ability to apply concepts, theories, and practices from different philosophical traditions to contemporary problems, and use these to reflect critically on current thinking and practice on these issues. 

Outline content:

Topics covered in this module include: (1) Buddhist ideas of justice, suffering, and freedom; (2) injustice as social suffering; (2) Simone Weil on epistemic justice, love, and the moral existence of others; (3) Frantz Fanon on cathartic violence in emancipatory political struggle; (4) Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violence, love and justice; (5) the African idea of ubuntu; Nelson Mandela and African philosophers on restorative justice; (6) Confucian conceptions of harmonious pluralism; (7) K inship with nature in Native American and Indigenous philosophy and the ‘rights’ of nature; (8) Christian feminine conceptions of sexuality and Michel Foucault on sexuality and the truth of pleasure.

Global context:

This module will situate students’ understanding of ‘Philosophy’ as a practice in a global context and develop an understanding of the diverse ways there are of doing philosophy in the global community. It will greatly enhance the resources students have for understanding and developing their own thought and practice in a global context, and their intercultural competencies, by developing a sound understanding of diverse philosophical perspectives on the fundamental questions of human social and political life. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught by lectures and seminars. Students are expected to attend 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars during the term in which it is provided. All students are required to write two module essays from a list of questions supplied by the module convenor and to give one seminar presentation. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. A reading list and sample questions will be given out at the start of the course. There will be an in-class test at the end of the course. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study: 170
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Class test administered by School 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1st assignment: 40%

2nd assignment: 50%

Class Test: 10% 

Formative assessment methods:

Online activities (e.g. quizzes)

Feedback on essay plans.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall. 

Reassessment arrangements:

Written assignment

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 15 September 2020


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